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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Ohhh…. (02/04/10)

TITLE: Ohhh, So That's Why!
By Pete Charpentier


I’ve had many “Ohhh-so-that’s-why” moments reading through God’s Word, but I’ll never forget a recent one from the Old Testament.

I remember trudging through the first chapter of Numbers. Now let me just say from the outset that I believe every word in the Bible is God-breathed (see 2 Timothy 3:16) and is written to teach and encourage (see Romans 15:4). So I know that all the details of Numbers 1:1-46 are given for a reason. I mean, I figured God had a purpose for teaching me there were 46,500 Reubenites, 59,300 Simeonites, 45,650 Gadites, etc.

“But why?” I honestly wondered. “What’s the point that I know Israel had 603,550 young men twenty years old or more on their wilderness trek to the Promised Land?” I pressed.

As you might guess from the tone of my thoughts, I wasn’t sure about the answers to my questions. But everything became clear when I read Numbers 13-14. It was there I had my “Ohhh-so-that’s-why” moment.

You see, as I moved through Numbers 13-14 and how Moses dispatched scouts into the land of Canaan, I found myself “getting-into” the story. Then, when the spies relayed their findings to the rest of the nation and tension developed between most of the scouts who were fearful and the minority who were faithful, my heart started to race. I like a good story – conflicts, climax, choices, and consequences!

And this is precisely when things came together for me. As I read the record of Israel’s fatal decision to react in fear instead of respond in faith at the report of the spies, a chill ran down my spine in light of God’s sober judgment: “In this desert your bodies will fall – everyone of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me” (Numbers 14:29, NIV).

These words leapt off the page! Like a pair of literary hands cupping around my face in order to steady my gaze, the words “twenty years old or more” echoed in my heart. I frantically flipped the pages of my Bible back to Numbers 1:1-46. I knew I had read those words before. They sounded eerily familiar. And as my eyes slowing scanned the first chapter of Numbers again, there they were in verses 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, and 45!

But this time I read them drastically different. This time I “saw” more than words; another image flashed in my mind’s eye. I saw the scene of a horizon dotted with thousands upon thousands of tombstones. And as this new picture crystallized in my thoughts, I pondered to myself, “Ohhh, so that’s why.”

I then realized that when I first read Numbers 1:1-46, I simply rattled these verses off like statistics in a demographic report. But when I reread them in light of God’s judgment, I understood this was a roll call of the dead! These were not faceless “stats” but people, sons, husbands, fathers, and families. Every person in this unbelieving generation except Joshua and Caleb perished in the wilderness (see Numbers 14:30).

And again, this is when it hit me. Every word of the Bible is living, active, and sharp (see Hebrews 4:12). Yes, the Scriptures provide many “Ohhh-so-that’s-why” moments because God reveals Himself through His Word so that I can embrace Him for who He is and for His “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV).

The Bible is God’s self-portrait! It’s not painted on a canvas with brushes and colors. It’s etched in words I can read. It’s wrapped in the stories of history, in the prayers of the Psalms, in the wisdom of Proverbs, and in the confrontation and consolation of the prophets. God reveals Himself in the incarnation – He is Immanuel, God with us (see Matthew 1:23), in the teachings of the apostles, and in the vision of the future. In all of the Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, God reveals Himself. And when I stand on the threshold of forever with the light of eternity bursting back upon the stage of human history, I will exclaim again one more final time, “Ohhh, so that’s why” (see 1 Corinthians 13:11-12)!

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This article has been read 372 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp02/11/10
This is great! Your use of Ohhh is perfect and your take on Numbers described exactly how I have felt reading it, until now. You shed a very welcome new insight on what I once considred to be v e r y boring. Kudos!
Sharon Laughter02/11/10
A real winner - you wrote very well about a potentially dull subject, and I experienced an "ohhhhh" reading it! (about tombstones.) You were brave with this subject. Clever!
(P.S. Check out Jan's classes for Beginners, Intermediates, etc. - they're so helpful..)
Verna Mull 02/12/10
This is absolutely outstanding! So much truth, and admonition to look for the "Ohhh, So That's Why! in the Scriptures. There is an answer for everything if we seek. Well done!
Lisha Hunnicutt02/13/10
Very well done! I too have often wondered about those long lists, not only in Numbers, but in other places in God's word. I know there is a reason the lists are there, but this was definitely an eye-opening piece for me. Great take on "Ohhh."
Carol Cook02/13/10
You did a great job of backing up your comments with God's Word. Isn't it wonderful how we can read the Bible so many times and may get nothing from a passage, then something almost shouts at us the next time we read it? I guess that's why we call it the Living Word. You did a fantastic job of helping us to feel what you felt. Keep writing!
Michael Joshua02/15/10
I loved this. I really enjoy when there are new discoveries in the scriptures that escape the everyday reading. WONDERFUL!! I can see you moving up with this!
Donna Wolther02/15/10
I liked this very much. I love getting those moments and you described perfectly how they make me feel. I also enjoyed your insight into that scripture. Thank you.
Jan Ackerson 02/16/10
Fascinating insights--thank you so much for sharing them with us.

Be very careful of using exclamation points in narrative. They should be used very, very rarely, if at all, outside of dialog.

I enjoyed this--it felt like just a good firend, talking with me.
Kate Oliver Webb 02/17/10
Thank you for this--for its completeness and ease of reading. To make it even more "of God," it's very timely because of a conversation I just had with a loved one who is doubting God's Word. It certainly hit the spot with me!
Sarah Elisabeth 02/18/10
Hey Pete, congrats on placing 11th in the Level 1 with this entry! There are so many talented writers here, so great job! If you haven't already, be sure to check out the Highest Rankings on the boards: